There was a lot of talk before the Olympics about legacy, as if it wasn't enough that tens of millions of people would be entertained for 16 days by the finest sportsmen and women on the planet (thus making their lives a little cheerier). No, while the cost of hosting the Games has spiralled over the years, host countries have sought to justify the expense by claiming a benefit for posterity.
Everyone it seems wants to be savouring a slice of Olympic pie long after the closing ceremony. It’s understandable; after all the public purse is £9bn lighter as a result of London hosting the Games. And - lest anyone has forgotten - that’s not the kind of money we can afford to flush down the toilet right now, no matter how pleased we are to see Katherine Grainger finally win a gold.
So our politicians insist we’re going to get the money back with interest and that we’ll be reaping the rewards of these Games in decades to come. The lessons of Sydney and Greece tell us this could be little more than political bluster, wishful thinking, or both. Talk of a £950m profit seems fanciful, a sum shot out of thin air.
But as far as the meetings and events industry is concerned, I am hopeful ‘legacy’ has already been achieved. For, if nothing else, these Games have served as a reminder of the potential of live events to inspire, entertain, and, yes, educate. Events should be about making something happen. Capturing the moment. Sending people away elated and motivated to succeed. Too often they fail to do any of these things. So let us grab the Olympic baton and run…